Monday, May 03, 2010

Had fun last Friday.

My buddy Glen showed up at the house, having gotten off from work at the grade school where he teaches, around 3:45PM. Turns out the school is just down the road from here, so it was a quick trip.

We hung around the house for a bit, but then he changed into a fresh shirt and I got ready and we headed down to Austin. Turns out he accidentally left his cell phone at the house. That prevented us from being able to connect with a few of his old friends while we were down there, but it didn't keep us from havin' a great time.

The first place we stopped at was his hotel. He and his wife Becky had made reservations to spend the night at the local Hyatt. She works at a TV station up near Temple, and doesn't get out of work till late on Friday. So she would drive down later and then they'd meet up when I brought him back, after our fun. I drove him by so he could get a key and drop off his gear. Then we drove on towards the UT campus, looking for an old German Beergarten he knows about.

This was the theme of the evening. Glenn and his family lived in Austin twice, for a total of about twelve years. So he knows his way around a lot better than I do, and knows about a lot of fun spots. So I drove, and he acted as tour guide. We parked in state government parking (clear after hours) and walked a few blocks down to the Scholz Garten.

This place was cool. The history goes back to 1866, when a German immigrant set up the place during the Reconstruction era right after the Civil War.

The menu tells the story of the place, including the fact that while he was in Texas, assigned to the Union Army on the Mexican frontier, George Armstrong Custer and his wife Libby enjoyed meals and drinks here at Scholz'.

No tellin' if there were big, shade giving trees here back in Custer time, but I was sure glad to have them on our visit. They complemented the cool spring breezes and made our stay very pleasant.

The menu at Scholz' is diverse enough to please any palliate. You can see my choice right up there at the top right.

I went with the 1/2 lb. burger with all the fixin's. Bacon, cheese, and jalapenos, with fries and a good, cold, dark Shiner Bock.

Glenn went for the BBQ Chicken plate, with scalloped taters, fried okra and a corn biscuit.

You know I loved the burger, and Glenn said his chicken was wonderful. We were both happy campers.

As we left, Glen took me through the bar and restaurant so I could get a look. he laughed when I took out the camera. he's seen the blog, and he knows what a camera geek I am.

We walked back by the car so I could get my other glasses and pick up a new cigar. Then we walked on for about four blocks, past Longhorn stadium. That place is pretty majestic when you see it up close.

In a very short time we'd made it to the Bass Concert Hall, where Van Morrison was set to give a concert at 8PM.

We'd originally thought to come down with our women and enjoy the concert, but Morrison's ticket prices were ridiculous. So, in time, a plan came together where we'd just drive down and see if we could find a scalper to give us some tickets at a cheaper price. In the end, nether of the ladies wanted to stand outside the Bass Hall and surf scalpers, so Glenn and I decided to go it alone.

The first dude we saw had front row seats, and wanted $500 a piece for them. The next guy had seats towards the back of the floor section. He wanted $150. We'd decided early on that we'd pay no more than $40. In the end, we had two guys fightin' to give us their tickets. We ended up on row U, with seats 149 and 150. That means we were 21 rows back, and about ten seats in from the right isle. Not bad for $40, and the seat of our pants.

Once we got in, the ushers made it clear that there were no cameras allowed in the hall and anyone caught taking pictures would be ejected and the camera confiscated. You know that bummed me out. They watched us like a hawk. There was no way to hide it if I decided to take some pictures. Now and then, as the concert progressed, someone would open their cell phone and an usher with a radio on their hip would wade into the crowd and tell them to put it away.

In the end, as the crowd gave Morrison a standing "O", I took this parting shot. Thing is, Van was already gone. He'd walked off the stage while he and his band were still playing and singing, whisked away by stage people.

Not once, during the entire hour and a half concert did he ever turn and say anything to the audience. he stood with his back to us the whole time, in his white suit and fedora, dark glasses shielding his eyes, and only turned to us when it came time for him to sing.

And I use the term "sing" loosely. It was as if we'd paid $40 to hear Stephen Hawking mumble through a set of old Van Morrison tunes. What a disappointment. Morrison was rewarded for this aloofness and arrogance with wild applause and sporadic standing "O"s from some in the crowd. It was amazing, the way lots of people in the audience were slobberin' all over this asshole who, in turn, gave them such a shitty performance. It was the worst concert I've ever been to.

And the band was even lousy. They all stood and looked at one another through the gig, and hardly ever made contact with the crowd. Glenn said it was as if they were jamming in someones living room. They even messed up their timing at one point, getting off step and then back on in a few seconds. Glenn and I just looked at each other and laughed. It was amazing.

In the end, as Morrison walked off and the audience stood up one last time, Glenn looked at me and said "He ain't gettin' one from me." But then I stood up, to get just one picture. I wanted to get just one, just to have one of the ushers get in my face so I could tell them to fuck off and walk out. It didn't happen. That was disappointing.

We walked out to the foyure to see if wee could run into one of Glenn's buddies from the old days, who he said was planning on going to the concert. But we never saw the guy, so we eventually gave up and decided to go. I walked out and off to the cement ledge near where we'd bought our tickets from that scalper.

I'd finished about 1/3rd of a good cigar by that moment. Unable to take it in the hall, I decided to slip it in a corner of the wall. Sure enough, it was still there when we left, so I picked it up, blazed up and continued to enjoy it on the walk back to the car.

We decided, on getting back to the car, to drive up "the strip", along Guadalupe, past the UT campus. Along the way, Glenn pointed out a toy store that he thought I'd like. It turned out to be really cool.

Toy Joy, in the 2000 block of Guadalupe, is full to the rafters with every sort of gadget and toy you could imagine.

Walking through, I found something for Denise's little granddaughter, Payton...

As well as something cool for myself. You recognize this dude? He's guarding my stack of paid bills there on the desk. That's one of the critters you saw in Jurassic Park 3. It's called a Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus, and is the largest meat eating critter ever discovered. The original may have been as long as 59 feet, but this one is only about a foot long, with a working jaw. I had to have it.

We drove on from there, out of town and West towards Lake Travis. We went up RM 2222, and then onto RM 620, and then on to Comanche Trail, to find something called The Oasis. Glenn figured it'd be a great place to have a few drinks and chill out. Turns out though, by the time we found the place, they were closing. It looked really cool though, so I'll have to bring Denise down and check it out again.

In the end, I drove Glenn back to his hotel. By then, Becky was there relaxing. We both talked about how we'd had a great time, and made plans to get with our women and do it all again soon. I left him there at about 11:45PM and headed home. I crawled into bed around 1AM and slept soundly. I was pooped.

Well, that's about it. The rest of the weekend was pretty relaxing. I hope you guys had fun too. Cheers.


Sarge Charlie said...

Looks like you guys know how to have fun, I never had a corn biscuit, is that a SW thing.

BRUNO said...

I thought at first the story was gonna say:"...I left my cigar in a wall-space goin' IN, and found a wino askin' me for a light for it when I came OUT!"

And, is that a James Brown-paperweight or somethin' on your desk? I want one!!! W-OWW!!! Hurt 'em, James!!!

Man, I thought MY desk was "funk-i-fied"---you got me beat ten-times over.....!

FHB said...

Sarge - Yep, we do alright. I'm still learnin' though. Always learnin'. need to find all the coolest things to do around here for when folks like you come to town.

Bruno - Yea, I was thinkin' about that. A little Hepatitis C on the ceegar? It looked like it'd gone untouched, so I enjoyed the rest of it. You know I gotta smoke 'em till they burn my fingers.

Entre Nous said...

The only thing I love more than Austin is chicken fried steak at the Broken Spoke.

FHB said...

Entre Nous - See, that's another place I need to check out. Thanks.

Mushy said...

Yeah, I could have warned you about Van...over the past few years he mostly mumbles and slurs his words. It's as if hearing music satisfies the audience. Ain't so old boy!

FHB said...

Mushy - Yea, I knew it was gonna be like that. But I didn't know how much he was just going to go through the motions. No energy or showmanship at all.

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